Posts Tagged: young adult

The Long Ride Home

October 21, 2017 books, reviews 0

I saw this book on netgalley, and you know I’m a sucker for roadtrip books, so obviously I had to request it. I was expecting a poignant book about life, loss and roadtrip fun, but I was a little disappointed. I enjoyed some aspects of the book, but overall this was not entirely for me.

the long ride home by tawni waters cover

After the loss of her mother, Harley can barely handle her grief. But the start of summer marks new beginnings, and Harley leaves for a cross-country road trip to scatter her mother’s ashes with Dean, her friend (with benefits). The two ride by motorcycle, reconnecting with people who knew her mother along the way.

But it’s not long before Harley realizes she’s pregnant…with Dean’s child. And as Harley learns that her mother faced similar choices during her own pregnancy, Harley must come to terms with her mother’s past to make a difficult decision about her own future.

I received a free review copy of this book (thanks Sourcebooks Fire!). This does not influence my opinion in any way.
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Review: Under Rose-Tainted Skies (Shattering Stigmas)

October 13, 2017 books, reviews 7

This is the last Shattering Stigmas post before the wrap-up on my blog, and it comes from yours truly. We’ve had some great recommendations these past two weeks, so I thought it was time for a review! I was inspired to read Under Rose-Tainted Skies during Shattering Stigmas, and it came highly recommended by my blogging friends. I’m happy to say I’ve finished it in time to share this review with you.

Shattering Stigmas graphic

Shattering Stigmas is a two-week blogging event focused on mental health in literature and mental health generally – check back for guest posts, reviews and discussions around mental health.


under rose tainted skies cover

At seventeen, Norah has accepted that the four walls of her house delineate her life. She knows that fearing everything from inland tsunamis to odd numbers is irrational, but her mind insists the world outside is too big, too dangerous. So she stays safe inside, watching others’ lives through her windows and social media feed.

But when Luke arrives on her doorstep, he doesn’t see a girl defined by medical terms and mental health. Instead, he sees a girl who is funny, smart, and brave. And Norah likes what he sees.

Their friendship turns deeper, but Norah knows Luke deserves a normal girl. One who can walk beneath the open sky. One who is unafraid of kissing. One who isn’t so screwed up. Can she let him go for his own good—or can Norah learn to see herself through Luke’s eyes?

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[Guest Post]: Coping While Fighting The Stigma (Shattering Stigmas)

October 11, 2017 books, miscellaneous 6



Another guest post today: it’s my absolute pleasure to introduce Jessica Sankiewicz to the blog! She is the author of several YA/NA books and will be addressing the difficulty of coping while fighting the stigma surrounding mental health. Thanks very much to Jess for sharing – make sure to show her some support in the comments!



Shattering Stigmas graphic
Shattering Stigmas is a two-week blogging event focused on mental health in literature and mental health generally – check back for guest posts, reviews and discussions around mental health.

Jessica’s Post

As someone with anxiety and depression, I want nothing more than to be able to talk freely about mental illness. However, in a society that views any sort of MI as either a weakness or a figment of the imagination, that makes openly discussing it difficult. In turn, those of us with a mental illness tend to hide them, suppressing our feelings and making things worse.

I like to believe that someday we’ll have a more open society, willing to talk about these things. But I know it will take some time for that to happen. In the meantime, there are other ways for us to cope with the stigma we face daily.
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[Guest Post]: On Writing a Character With Anxiety + Mental Health Book Recommendations (Shattering Stigmas)

October 4, 2017 books, recs, writing 7



I’m absolutely thrilled to welcome Marie Landry to the blog today! Marie is an author, and she is going to tell you about her writing process and how much of herself she puts into her own characters in this post. She will also give you a couple of book recommendations for YA/NA books discussing mental health. Make sure to check out Waiting for the Storm and Marie’s other books. I’ll let Marie take over from here.



Shattering Stigmas graphic
Shattering Stigmas is a two-week blogging event focused on mental health in literature and mental health generally – check back for guest posts, reviews and discussions around mental health.

Marie’s story

When I started writing my YA book Waiting for the Storm five years ago, I didn’t intend for it to be about a girl with anxiety. Initially it was about a girl, Charlotte, who had finished high school at home while taking care of her terminally ill mother. After being shut away for almost a year, she had become anxious and jumpy, afraid of things that never bothered her before, and unable to cope with her emotions. As I continued writing and Charlotte became more fully formed in my mind, her actions – things like jumping to conclusions and overreacting – seemed familiar.
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Book Review: Passenger

February 17, 2017 books, reviews 4

passenger cover alexandra bracken review on reviews and cake blog

I ordered this book way back when it first came out – in hardcover no less – because I liked The Darkest Minds series by Alexandra Bracken. I only just got around to reading it, and I’m not quite as enthusiastic about this series debut as I was about her other work.
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Conventions and an Avalanche of Books

January 14, 2017 books, miscellaneous, psa 18

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What’s New?

Aloha blogglings,

I’m in a summery mood, because I can actually see the sun today. From inside my room, I mean, let’s not get crazy. I went to visit my family over Christmas and New Year, but now I’m back in England. So far I’ve spent all of my time holed up in my room writing essays, but I can see the light on the horizon. Sort of. In a few weeks. In more exciting news, I have decided that I’ll go to YALC (Young Adult Literature Convention) in London this year! It’s at the end of July, and I don’t know anyone, so if you’re a fellow blogger who’s thinking about going, and you’d like to meet up, let me know! I’ve never been before, so if you’re an experienced YALCer, any information is welcome. :D I’m always jealous about all the US folks, who get to meet up at conventions, so I figured I have to make use of my time in an English-speaking country!



The answer is I shouldn’t. Trust me. I keep struggling with random words that are different in British English and American English. Like the time I ordered a flapjack expecting a pancake and got a muesli bar thing instead. Or last week, when I asked someone where I could find the zucchini, and he looked at me all confused and asked whether I meant aubergine, which I didn’t because I call aubergines aubergines (turns out zucchini=American English and courgette=British English, but aubergine=British English and eggplant=American English). It’s a constant surprise, living here. :D
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Review: Illuminae

January 5, 2017 books, reviews 12

Illuminae book cover

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

– from goodreads

I had high expectations in this book, and they were not disappointed. I’m so late to the party that the sequel is already out (which is a plus, because this way I don’t have to wait to read it), but that only means that I’ve read about how great and unique this book is ever since it’s been published. I’m often wary of books that are hyped this much, but I had a good feeling with this one. YA scifi? Megalomaniac AIs? Invasions? What could go wrong.
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2016 in Books I Read

December 30, 2016 books, miscellaneous 15

One more day of 2016! I usually do the End of the Year book survey everyone does, but I need something short and sweet this year, so I’m making up my own questions that totally aren’t fitted to the books I read this year at all. Feel free to steal and link back if you haven’t done yours. My goodreads challenge says I finished 58 books this year, which I’m quite happy with. Some of those I skimmed and DNF’d and there were a lot of audiobooks, but with everything else going on this year, I think that’s a good number. Let’s take a look at the selection!

Favorite Books I read in 2016

a gathering of shadows book cover on reviews and cake

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
Sweetgirl by Travis Mulhauser
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

I loved all of these books for various reasons, and I’m really excited to read the next book in the Shades of Magic series!
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The Glittering Court

October 30, 2016 books, reviews 4

the glittering court by richelle mead cover

Big and sweeping, spanning from the refined palaces of Osfrid to the gold dust and untamed forests of Adoria, The Glittering Court tells the story of Adelaide, an Osfridian countess who poses as her servant to escape an arranged marriage and start a new life in Adoria, the New World. But to do that, she must join the Glittering Court.

Both a school and a business venture, the Glittering Court is designed to transform impoverished girls into upper-class ladies who appear destined for powerful and wealthy marriages in the New World. Adelaide naturally excels in her training, and even makes a few friends: the fiery former laundress Tamsin and the beautiful Sirminican refugee Mira. She manages to keep her true identity hidden from all but one: the intriguing Cedric Thorn, son of the wealthy proprietor of the Glittering Court.

– from goodreads (shortened)

This book’s been on my radar for a while, because I’ve read almost all of Richelle Mead’s books, but I only now got around to reading it. I was a little put off at first, because something about the writing style seemed fairly different to other Richelle Mead books (more… simplistic maybe?), but part of it may have been that I’m more used to third person than first. I gave it a chance though, and I ended up really enjoying the book!
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This Savage Song

June 22, 2016 books, reviews 4

this savage song cover

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

– from goodreads

It’s time for another V.E. Schwab book! I’m basically counting down the days until A Conjuring of Light comes out (I mean… not actually counting, that would involve math), so I was delighted to have something to tide me over until then. I have to admit, I’m not as enchanted with this world as I am with the Shades of Magic one, but I really like V.E. Schwab’s writing style, so it was still fun to read.
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Here Comes Drama

June 14, 2016 books, reviews 11

Gena/Finn cover

The story follows the unlikely friendship of two young women forged via fan fiction and message boards, and is told entirely in texts, chats, and blog posts.

Gena (short for Genevieve) and Finn (short for Stephanie) have little in common. Book-smart Gena is preparing to leave her posh boarding school for college; down-to-earth Finn is a twenty-something struggling to make ends meet in the big city. Gena’s romantic life is a series of reluctant one-night-stands; Finn is making a go of it with long-term boyfriend Charlie. But they share a passion for Up Below, a buddy cop TV show with a cult fan following. Gena is a darling of the fangirl scene, keeping a popular blog and writing fan fiction. Finn’s online life is a secret, even from Charlie. The pair spark an unlikely online friendship that deepens quickly (so quickly it scares them both), and as their individual “real” lives begin to fall apart, they increasingly seek shelter online, and with each other.

– from Goodreads

I usually try to review without spoilers, but I’m not sure how to talk about what bothered me about this book without giving at least some spoilers, so be warned.

I had high hopes in this book – first of all it’s epistolary and you know I love me some epistolary books (there may actually be an event related to this on this blog at some point this year, but psssht). It’s also about fandom and people said at least the first half of it was feel good. I usually try not to spoiler myself before reading, but I knew that Gena and Finn wouldn’t end up together, so I didn’t have any wrong expectations about that. On paper, I should have loved this book, but I really didn’t. Let me tell you why.
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A Gathering of Shadows

February 29, 2016 books, reviews 4

a gathering of shadows book cover on reviews and cake

Four months have passed since the shadow stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Rhy was wounded and the Dane twins fell, and the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift, and into Black London.

In many ways, things have almost returned to normal, though Rhy is more sober, and Kell is now plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks like she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games—an extravagant international competition of magic, meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries—a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.

But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning, and so it seems Black London has risen again—meaning that another London must fall.

from Goodreads

I tried out at least five different beginnings to this review, because I can’t find any words to convey how much I loved this book. Since I really liked the first book in the series, I preordered this one and started reading shortly after it was delivered to my Kindle around midnight on its release date. Victoria Schwab usually writes great beginnings, but I think this might have been my favorite one yet. It has a very Pirates of the Caribbean flair to it and there’s trickery and action and cleverness and basically yes, please. However, as I read on I was all prepared to give the book a mediocre rating. I didn’t love Lila, because it felt too much like she was only written to be badass if you think that killing people and acting inconsiderate is badass. I liked returning to this world, but the story dragged a tiny little bit. But… then I got sucked in again and I freaking loved every single thing about it. Let me tell you why.
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Morally Ambiguous Characters and Magical Writing

December 15, 2015 books, reviews 6

a darker shade of magic on reviews and cake

Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London—but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her ‘proper adventure’.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—trickier than they hoped.

A Darker Shade of Magic has been on my to read list for ages. I heard about it a couple of times, and I follow Victoria Schwab on twitter, so I kept reading about parallel worlds, magic, and pirates. I read and reviewed Vicious, her adult book, and now I finally got around to this one. And let me tell you – I was intrigued from the start! I think the first few chapters are the strongest of the book, because they’re such a great introduction to the world and the characters of A Darker Shade of Magic. The writing just felt magical (unrelated to the book’s subject) and, like with Vicious, I found it very cinematic. Worldbuilding at its best!
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ALL THE BOOKS

November 29, 2015 books, miscellaneous 7

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What’s New?

Good things that happened this week:

  • dancing and free cocktails
  • fun times with friends
  • new creative ideas

The Shiny



I caved and bought a Kindle Voyage, so obviously I had to fill it with things. Lots of things. All of them have been on my to be read list for a while now though. I have to admit, it’s a bit of a struggle to decide whether I want to buy books on my Kindle or physically now. Forget that whole what’s better debate (it’s literally the same content) the real problem here is that I want to read them on the Kindle, but I ALSO want to ogle them on my shelf.

cinder cover marissa meyer on reviews and cake mortal heart by robin lafevers cover on reviews and cake dumplin by julie murphy cover on reviews and cake

And then there was this. One of the perks during Patrick Ness’s Save the Children fundraiser were signed copies of Alexandra Bracken’s Through the Dark, a collection of short stories set in the world of her The Darkest Minds series. I love that series, but I couldn’t buy the short stories before, because they weren’t available in Germany. I was planning to get the book anyway when it was released, so this was perfect!

Through the Dark by Alexandra Bracken cover on Reviews and Cake

Yes, I have books instead of hands now. Kind of impractical, but I’m making it work.



I didn’t think I was getting a copy, because I didn’t get an e-mail notification when they were sent out (there was a limited number), so imagine my surprise when I went to the post office to ostensibly pick up a boring university book and got this instead!


On the Blog

Tune of the Week



The song that’s been used in about a million fan videos of every TV show ever… Enjoy.

As always, I’m linking up with Stacking the Shelves, hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and the Sunday Post hosted by the Caffeinated Book Reviewer!

stacking the shelvessunday post

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Why I Read Young Adult

November 17, 2015 books, discussion 20

See? See! I’m not only telling you why I DON’T do stuff. Today you can get another unwanted and unasked for insight into how my brain works. Aren’t you excited? I know I am.



I’m 22, and I love reading Young Adult. I’m pretty confident that’s not going to change anytime soon. It’s not the only thing I read, but I think it’s safe to say the majority of books I read are classified as YA. I know a lot of people already outlined their reasons for reading Young Adult as an adult, but I’ll contribute to the discussion, because I feel like it, and because some people still view YA as lesser.
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Could You Be A Better Chosen One Than Simon Snow?

November 3, 2015 books, reviews 2


Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

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Carrying On

October 24, 2015 books, miscellaneous 28

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What’s New?

Aloha amig@s de libros! (yes, you may hit me for that)

I hope this post finds you feeling well and spooky. It’s been three weeks since I’ve done one of these, so have a non-comprehensive list of things that happened since then

  • My internship ended, and a new semester at uni started
  • I went to Newcastle for a couple of days last week! I vlogged it, so I’ll upload a video about it within the next weeks
  • While in Newcastle I watched The Martian, which is a GREAT movie and you should definitely see it because it’s hilarious. I’m slightly upset that no one ever recommended the book to me, but now I shall have to read it
  • I watched the first four episodes of Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. It’s good so far!
  • Gilmore Girls will be continued with four 90-minute episodes! It’s one of my go-to favorite shows, and I really didn’t expect it, so I’m thrilled-nervous-enthusiastic about this

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Awesome Authors and a Bout of Productivity

September 4, 2015 books, miscellaneous 32

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What’s New?

Edit: I’m having a blog party! Check out my blogger friending meme :)

If you’re on twitter, you probably already know this unless you’ve been living under a REALLY heavy rock, but there’s some SERIOUS charity stuff going on over there. Patrick Ness, author of The Rest of Us Just Live Here (which has been on my to-read for a while now) and some other books, started a fundraiser to collect money to give to Save the Children for refugees, because he was tired of only tweeting about it. He offered to match the first 10.000 pounds, and then John Green jumped in and said he’d match the next 10.000, and suddenly it all gained momentum.

SO MANY authors (and Hank Green, but I hear he’s writing a book, so…) participated that we all raised 400.000 pounds (~600.000 dollars) in only 36 hours. Obviously this wouldn’t be possible without all the people who keep giving, so please consider stopping by and giving some money yourself – every little bit helps! I love when humanity actually does something good, and this makes me proud to be a part of the book community. If you’re also a nerdfighter, this whole thing kind of feels like Project for Awesome, but on twitter.


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Gendered Books

July 31, 2015 books, discussion 20

Talk To Me

is a no-nonsense discussion feature on this blog. No-nonsense means I’m too lazy to make it look pretty. It’s exactly what the title suggests: I’m going to pose a question or tell you my own opinion about something, and I want to know what you think about it! Obviously feel free to write up your own post on the topic and link it in the comments.


Topic

I went to the bookstore yesterday. Now usually this would be a celebratory experience. And it still was (yay, new books!), but while I was there I found something that irked me. Irked me quite a lot that is. So naturally I had to share it with you.

Standing before the English section (because obviously I can’t be bothered to read books in my first language, that would be ridiculous), I saw a book that sparked my interest. It was called “End of Time” and – thinking it might somehow be related to Doctor Who – I pulled it out to take a closer look. It turned out not to be Doctor Who related at all, but a German/English mixed-language book for English learners. Which is an awesome concept. EXCEPT. Right there on the cover it said “Boy Zone”. Apparently it was mainly targeted at teenage boys. I remember similar marketing concepts from my childhood, books mainly targeted at girls that were mostly about first love and growing up.

My Opinion

Now I know a lot of products are randomly and unnecessarily gendered. But given the role books have played in my life, gendering books just seems like a bit of a personal insult to me. I understand that marketing theory can’t stress the role of defining target groups enough, but for fuck’s sake people. I don’t believe in binary genders, and I’m of the opinion that gender is mainly socially constructed (of which this is a prime example really), but let’s just for a moment neglect that debate. Why the fuck is scifi only for boys? Why is there a “chick lit” genre? Why the hell can’t we all just accept that stories are stories and can be enjoyed by all genders alike? Yes, I’m aware that you can just buy the book anyway, but I’m operating under the assumption that a lot of people wouldn’t, especially teenagers who tend to be more insecure of their identity and self-worth and would often be sujected to bullying.

In the case of this book, there is a clear label on the cover defining it as a book for boys, but often the label is in our minds. If you show someone The Princess Diaries and Maze Runner, there’s no doubt which one would be considered more of a girl’s and which one would be considered more of a boy’s book. It’s just absurd to me that we’d limit good stories this way. It’s like saying Harry Potter can only be enjoyed by children or YA literature holds no worth for people who are older than the target group. A great story is a great story and a shitty story is a shitty story. C.S. Lewis said “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” Similarly, a story that can only be enjoyed by one gender is not a good story. It also doesn’t exist, because the problem doesn’t lie with the story, it lies with society’s understanding of for whom it is acceptable to read it.

I know that this is a well-known and frequently discussed problem, but evidently it’s still a problem. It extends far beyond books – I’m often perplexed when I watch a movie and someone comments it’s a movie for men rather than women, because there’s action in it or it doesn’t primarily focus on romance. A lot of the time the thought never even occured to me. I feel inadequate when I’m more interested in a game night than watching Sex and the City. And I’m not saying I don’t enjoy things targeted at women. I absolutely do. I just don’t exclusively enjoy them, and I think that is true for everyone. “Educating” people that it’s more acceptable for one gender than another to like certain kinds of stories or do certain kinds of things makes me incredibly sad, because a lot of people will miss out on great books and experiences or feel ashamed that they’re enjoying them. It also simply just pissed me off, and writing is my tool to deal with my emotions, so there ya go.

Your Turn!

What’s your take on this? Do you think it’s okay to gender products in the interest of marketing and sales, or do you think it’s unnecessary? Have you come across gendered books before?

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Starships Are Meant to Fly (So It Sucks When They Come Crashing Down)

June 24, 2015 books, reviews 14

These Broken Stars cover on Reviews and Cake

Luxury spaceliner Icarus suddenly plummets from hyperspace into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive — alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a cynical war hero. Both journey across the eerie deserted terrain for help. Everything changes when they uncover the truth.

Okay, confession time: I know everyone loves this cover – and I like it too – BUT it does look slightly cheesy. I don’t remember why I bought this book initially, but despite the good ratings I expected it to be a lot soppier than it was. There IS a lot of romance, but it develops slowly and there’s bickering and banter, and it’s basically perfect. That’s not all though! I wanted sci-fi, and I was not disappointed. I don’t think the book is very heavy on technical explanations and – due to the fact that most of the book is set on an abandoned planet – there isn’t TONS of worldbuilding, but the stuff there was I liked. I do think that people who aren’t really into sci-fi would enjoy it too.
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